The WWII U.S. Navy developed numerous camouflage measures leading up to and during WW2. These were numbered 1 to 33. These measures were contained in a manual known as SHIPS-2, distributed by the Bureau of Construction and Repair (BuC&R), USN.
1. SHIPS-2 was first distributed in January 1941 and it contained Measures 1 through 9. The colors used for these measures are as follows:
Light Grey 5-L (replaced Standard Navy Grey of the prewar period) Ocean Grey 5-O Dark Grey 5-D Black #82 White 5-U
All of these colors were mixed from base colors of white and black to generate greys of varying hues. The following paint schemes used these colors:
Measure (Ms) 1: Dark Grey System. All vertical surfaces Dark Grey 5-D below the funnel tops, Light Grey 5-L above the funnel tops.
Ms 2: Graded System. All superstructure parts 5-L, hull graded with 5-L the top band, 5-O the middle band, and 5-d on the bottom band. Each band is to be of equal width.
Ms 3: Light Grey System. All vertical surfaces Light Grey 5-L.
Ms 4: Black System. All vertical surfaces Black #82.
Ms 5: Painted Bow Wave. To be used with Ms. 1, 2 or 3, but not Ms. 4. Upper edge of the wave is to be painted in 5-U, and the body of the wave in either dark blue or 5-D
Ms. 6 through 8 were intended to make the ship look like that of another class(i.e. an Omaha-class CL resemble a four stack DD) with the color of the deception the opposite of the general color of the ship (i.e. the ship painted in 5-D would use 5-L for the deception).
Ms 9: Black System for Subs. Paint the entire area above the waterline black.
2. SHIPS-2 was revised in September 1941 after testing found that blues were more effective camoflauge than the greys of the Jan. 1941 edition. The new colors were as follows:
Haze Grey 5-H Ocean Grey 5-O (not the same as above) Sea Blue 5-S Deck Blue 20-B Black #82 White 5-U
The colors were mixed from 5-U and tinting material known as 5-TM (Author’s note: I am unaware of any references available to the modeler of the actual tint of either 5-TM or 20-TM, which was used for making Deck Blue). The following measures were authorized in the Sept. 1941 edition:
Ms 1 through 8: Discontinued Ms 9: Same as above Ms 11: Sea Blue System. All verticle surfaces Sea Blue 5-S
Ms 12: Graded System. Paint hull 5-S to the level of main deck (Carriers to the level of the hangar deck). Paint superstructure to the tops of the funnels Ocean Grey 5-O. Above the funnels Haze Grey 5-H.
Ms 13: Haze Grey System. All verticle surfaces Haze Grey 5-H.
Ms 14: Ocean Grey System. All verticle surfaces Ocean Grey 5-O.
In all but Ms. 9, the decks were to be painted Deck Blue 20-B.
3. In June, 1942, SHIPS-2 was again revised, and new colors introduced, using the same ingredients as the Sept 1941 edition. The colors authorized were:
Thayer Blue 5-B Haze Grey 5-H (not the same tint as above) Ocean Grey 5-O (not the same tint as above) Navy Blue 5-N Deck Blue 20-B Black #82 White 5-U
Authorized measures in the June 1942 were:
Ms 9: Black System for Subs. Same as above
Ms 10: Gray System for Subs. Paint all surfaces above waterline 5-O Ms 11 and 12: Discontinued Ms 13: Haze Grey System. Same as above Ms 14: Ocean Grey System. Same as above
Ms 16: Thayer System. For use in arctic regions. All vertical surfaces White 5-U with patterns of Thayer Blue 5-B.
Ms 21: Navy Blue System. Paint all vertical surfaces Navy Blue 5-N.
Ms 22: Graded System. 5-N from the waterline to an imaginary line parallel to the waterline running through the deepest part of the main deck, 5-H from this point up.
4. In March, 1943, SHIPS-2 was again revised, and new colors introduced:
Pale Gray 5-P Light Gray 5-L
In addition, the following colors were continued:
Haze Gray 5-H Ocean Gray 5-O Navy Blue 5-N Deck Blue 20-B Dull Black BK
The following measures used the aforementioned colors:
Ms 21: Navy Blue System. Same as above
Ms 22: Graded System. Same as discussed under June 1942 schemes
Ms 23: Light Grey System. Paint all vertical surfaces light grey, paint undersides of all overhangs White 5-U
Ms 31: Dark Pattern System. All vertical surfaces with patterns of 5-H, 5-O, and BK.
Ms 31a: Dark Pattern System. Same as Ms. 31, except 5-N replaces BK. Two-color schemes used 5-H and 5-N. Three-color schemes used 5-H, 5-O, and 5-N.
Ms 32: Medium Pattern System. Paint all vertical surfaces with patterns of either 5-L and BK (for 2-color schemes) or 5-L, 5-O, and BK ( 3-color schemes)
Ms 33: Light Pattern System. Paint all vertical surfaces with patterns of; 2-color schemes used 5-L and 5-O 3-color schemes used 5-P, 5-H, and 5-N
Measures 31, 31a, 32, and 33 were used with various geometric patterns assigned design numbers reflecting the pattern and type of ship for which they were created. Thus, “Measure 32/18d” used the Measure 32 colors and was applied using geometric design number 18, appropriate for a destroyer (“d”). Decks were to be painted 20-B, but many Ms. 31 and 32 designs also had patterns of 20-B and 5-O on the decks.
This edition also authorized green colors for use on ships. These colors corresponded with the blue colors and were:
Pale Green 5-PG Light Green 5-LG Haze Green 5-HG Ocean Green 5-OG Navy Green 5-NG Deck Green 20-G
The greens were interchangable with the blues in the measures, but were mostly used on amphibious force units and coastal forces.